Japanese court: the anti-tsunami guarantees of the nuclear power plant are insufficient | Science

By MARI YAMAGUCHI – Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered a utility not to restart a nuclear power plant due to inadequate tsunami protection measures, supporting residents’ safety concerns at a time when the government is pushing for more reactors are resuming power generation after pledging to ban imports of Russian fossil fuels.

The Sapporo District Court has ruled that Hokkaido Electric Power Co. must not operate any of the three reactors at its coastal nuclear power plant in Tomari, northern Japan, because inadequate tsunami protection could endanger people’s lives. .

The utility said it would appeal the decision, which it called “regrettable and absolutely unacceptable”.

A massive earthquake and tsunami more than 15 meters (49 feet) high struck another nuclear power plant in Fukushima, northeast Japan, in 2011, destroying its cooling systems and melting three reactors and releasing large amounts of radiation.

Many Japanese nuclear power plants have been shut down since the disaster for safety checks and upgrades. The reactors of the Tomari power plant have not been in operation since 2012.

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The government has urged factories to resume operations to replace fossil fuels and reduce global warming. It is now accelerating that push amid fears of a power crisis following its promise to phase out imports of Russian coal, liquefied gas and oil as part of international sanctions against invading Ukraine. by Moscow.

Around 1,200 people in the Tomari plant area and elsewhere filed a lawsuit in late 2012 demanding that it be decommissioned due to inadequate earthquake and tsunami protection. In its decision, the court rejected this request.

Chief Justice Tetsuya Taniguchi said Hokkaido Electric failed to take steps to address safety issues and demonstrate the adequacy of the plant’s existing seawall, which was built after the Fukushima disaster, but did. has since faced questions about its weak foundation.

The operator has proposed a new seawall which it says could protect the plant from a tsunami of up to 16.5 meters (54ft), but did not provide any details of its structure or other plans, said said the court. The plant is located at a height of 10 meters (33 feet) above the sea surface.

The court also ruled that Hokkaido Electric failed to adequately explain how it could ensure the safety of spent nuclear fuel inside the reactors.

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